Hooking up your MacBook Pro to a HDTV

August 8, 2010
By

Updated November 17 2011 for MacBook Air

Recently, the Hub was asked the question on how to hook up a MacBook Pro to an HDTV to watch on-line Major League Baseball games as well as movies from iTunes. Since the Hub just bought a Macbook Pro, I was ready for the challenge.

The set up is easy. To summarize, you need a mini-DisplayPort adapter and HDMI cable to connect your MacBook Pro to your HDTV. Once plugged in, you need to go into Settings application. Once there, you should mirror your display as well as redirect your audio to the TV speakers. 

For detailed instructions on the adapter needed as well as screen shots on how to configure the Mac, click the link and enjoy the movie!

Step 1:  Obtain a Mini-DisplayPort to HDMI adapter as well as an HDMI cable. Clicking on the pictures will bring to the proper page on Amazon. It would be nice if Apple included an HDMI connector on the MacBook Pro but instead it uses a Mini-DisplayPort (Thunderbolt for the new MacBook Air). But have no fear, it’s nothing a $7 $5 adapter with free shipping can’t fix.
AmazonBasics High-Speed HDMI Cable (6.5 Feet/2.0 Meters) - Supports Ethernet, 3D, and Audio Return [Newest Standard]
6 ft. HDMI cable at Amazon

Mini-DisplayPort to HDMI Adapter for the MacBook Pro at Amazon
If you have one of the new 2011 MacBook Airs, you should use the adapter below instead. This particular adapter works with the Thunderbolt port on the Air and properly transmits audio as well as video:
Thunderbolt to HDMI Adapter for the MacBook Air
Thunderbolt / Mini-DisplayPort to HDMI Adapter for MacBook Air at Amazon

Step 2: Connect the Mini-DisplayPort adapter to your MacBook Pro and then to an open HDMI port on your HDTV. Select the proper HDMI input on your TV. At this point, you should see an image on your monitor. However, it probably wasn’t what you expected. 

Step 3: At this point, your desktop spans both the laptop screen and your HDTV. Personally, I like to see the same image on both the laptop and HDTV screens. This is know as  ”mirroring” the display. While you don’t have to do this, it saves you the time of having to manage what appears on which screen. Click on the “Settings”  icon on the Dock and you should see the following:

Select “Displays” under Hardware. 
Two screens should pop up:  One for your laptop’s screen and the other for your HDTV. If it does not, click on the “Detect Displays” button. The second screen looks like the one below for my Samsung HDTV. I selected 1080p as the resolution as it’s the best the TV can handle.

To mirror the display, click on the “Arrangement” button at the top of the screen and then click the “mirror displays” checkbox at the bottom of the window.

Step 4:  You’re all set with the display, but the audio is coming out of the laptop’s speakers, not the TV’s. With the newest MacBooks, they can output audio to the TV just using the one cable you connected, you just have to tell it to (older Macbooks need a separate audio cable). Go to “Settings” again and click on “Sound” and then chose “Output”. You should see your TV listed on the screen. Chose your TV and presto, the sound will come out of your TV’s speakers.
Enjoy the movie!

Tags: cables, displayport, HDMI, HDTV, macbook

6 Responses to Hooking up your MacBook Pro to a HDTV

  1. Tribbs_2009 on June 28, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    it works… half way… the screen on the tv flickers back and forth between static and my macbook pro screen consistently every second. fix anyone? its not the adapter, its not my mac, i dont think its the tv, most likely its some setting or resolution thing…

  2. Tribbs_2009 on June 28, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    it works… half way… the screen on the tv flickers back and forth between static and my macbook pro screen consistently every second. fix anyone? its not the adapter, its not my mac, i dont think its the tv, most likely its some setting or resolution thing…

    • matt on September 15, 2012 at 10:39 pm

      me too!

  3. Anonymous on July 16, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    Worked great. Thanks for the help! The icon is now called "system preferences."

  4. Wesley on October 13, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    fantastic instructions. i searched everywhere to learn how to do this. now my macbook pro beautifully hooks up to my hdtv which is then hooked up to surround sound. we are in business. thanks folks,

  5. Wesley on October 13, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    fantastic instructions. i searched everywhere to learn how to do this. now my macbook pro beautifully hooks up to my hdtv which is then hooked up to surround sound. we are in business. thanks folks,

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